Mayor announces ‘pedestrian-friendly’ weekend June 20-21, with Main Street closure

The Father’s Day weekend street closure will include 5th and Main, location of the Edmonds fountain. (April 2020 file photo by Kim Shouse)

In what is being a described as a pilot project that could lead to a regular practice on summer weekends, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson Thursday announced the city will close Main Street between 3rd and Sixth Avenues to vehicle traffic June 20-21.

Described in a city announcement as a “pedestrian-friendly weekend along Main Street,” the closure will come on Father’s Day weekend. The goal, the mayor said, is to open the street to pedestrians and local businesses who want to move outdoors. Businesses in other areas of Edmonds, such as Westgate, Five Corners and in the Highway 99 corridor , are also encouraged to also move tables outside, the mayor said.

“It’s been a tough spring for residents and businesses and we are all excited to get out and try something new to jump-start our summer as businesses gradually – and safely – reopen,” Nelson said.

The pilot project is scheduled for Saturday, June 20 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, June 21 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Commercial deliveries will be allowed into the area before 10 a.m. both days.

Details are being worked out this week, and the city said it will provide more information in the coming days.

“We hope restaurants will open up sidewalk seating, and retail stores can bring items outdoors,” Nelson said. “Our goal is to provide more space for people to walk, dine and shop – safely as we will encourage use of masks and appropriate social distancing. If people respond well, then it may become a regular weekend summer closure.”

 

48 Replies to “Mayor announces ‘pedestrian-friendly’ weekend June 20-21, with Main Street closure”

  1. It’s been a tough spring for residents and businesses and we are all excited to get out and try something new to jump-start our summer as businesses gradually – and safely – reopen,” Nelson said.

    I’m confused, how does encouraging citizens to enjoy this experience assist in reducing spread of COVID-19? Since, endorsed by City of Edmonds isn’t this really a large gathering? Will there be limits such as those currently in use at Saturday Market?
    It’s still out there, nasty COVID-19. Keep citizens safe or help speed up a trickle of tax dollars into state and local governments. You decide.

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  2. So where are those that are disabled supposed to park? Neither my wife or I are very mobile. We both walk with canes. Long distances and hills are problems. You are eliminating a lot of parking spaces. Are you going to provide off site parking and transportation?

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    1. Looks like another reason added to the many others of why it’s time to move. I’ve had multiple back surgeries and just won’t be using Downtown. Having a “trial run” at this during covid 19 is not a strong predictor of what future traffic and parking will look like.

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  3. Good for small business and the event can be done safely. Stay home if you’re afraid. No one is making you attend. It’s Safer than the thousands of people gathering over the last few weeks.

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  4. Please replace the fountain with a parking lot. The area has great potential. Would be nice to have a parking lot for starbucks.

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    1. Bravo! Hasn’t the city been collecting money for 30 years to improve parking or build a parking lot? Where did the money go and where can we park?

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  5. My sentiments exactly, thanks, John! I am writing to in response to the closing of Main Street. Businesses are just starting to open up and the Mayor and Rick Steves, decide to eliminate parking and to have that European feel to the city. We are NOT Europe. This is Edmonds, WA USA with it own unique charm. Not too long ago it was reported the city was able to find more parking and now you want to take that away? On Main Street of all places? What about our seniors and those who are less able bodied to get around by foot. The businesses along Main street rely on those parking spaces for their business and drop off for the Edmonds Theater. Do you think making a decision like this was appropriate during a pandemic? Or didn’t you think anyone would notice? If you want the European feel, go to Europe Mr. Mayor. I am sure Rick Steves would be happy to be your guide. Let’s keep the Edmond’s charm.
    In addition, open Sunset back up to parking so those who can’t get out of their cars can enjoy it too! All of us will be less able bodied one day and still like to enjoy the sunset on sunset, even if it is in our cars

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      1. Chapter 18.50 of the Edmonds Community Development Code (ECDC) governs the City’s Official Street Map. ECDC 18.50.010 includes the following: “Changes shall be by ordinance, attested to by the mayor and city clerk on the affected map.”
        ECDC 18.50.030 includes the following: “Changes shall be processed as provided in Chapter 20.65 ECDC…”
        ECDC 20.65.010 states that “The planning board shall review proposed changes to the official street map as a Type V decision, using as the basis for its review and recommendation the purposes of the comprehensive plan as stated in Chapter 15.05 ECDC, and the purposes of the comprehensive street plan, as stated in Chapter 15.40 ECDC, and the purposes of the official street map, as stated in Chapter 18.50 ECDC. [Ord. 3736 § 61, 2009].
        ECDC 20.65.020 states that: “When a change is approved, the adopting ordinance shall direct the public works director to incorporate the change on to the official street map, but the language of this code shall not be changed.”
        MRSC has provided information about creative uses of ROW’s:
        http://mrsc.org/Home/Stay-Informed/MRSC-Insight/June-2020/Creative-Use-of-the-ROW-During-the-Pandemic.aspx
        Spokane has adopted an Ordinance modifying requirements for sidewalk cafes, parklets and streateries. Such was passed May 21, 2020. If Edmonds City Council wanted to consider something similar, I imagine there would be opportunity for public comment.

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        1. How do we do Halloween and car shows? Does the code already have a street use permit for events like this?

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        2. Darrol – Per our Code – A street use permit is required to use any portion of public space or city right-of-way for objects which are temporary in nature.

          1. To “use” means to place or maintain in, over or under any public place, right-of-way, roadway, parking strip and/or sidewalk, including the air space above them, any temporary or movable object.

          2. “Temporary in nature,” in reference to street use permits, means not having or requiring permanent attachment to the ground, or involving structures which have no required permanent attachment to the ground.

          3. “Temporary object” for the purposes of this chapter refers to all objects placed in the right-of-way that are temporary in nature including but not limited to chairs, tables, planters, sandwich boards, benches, stanchions, rope, and fencing.

          None of the above definitions shall be interpreted to prohibit the parking of a properly licensed vehicle within the parking strip adjacent to their property line of sight, and street plantings. [Ord. 3790 § 1, 2010].

          Regarding the Classic Car Show – the only thing I can find in the code is as follows from ECC Chapter 4.12:

          D. Exemptions. The following persons shall be exempt from license fees and applications required under this chapter:

          1. Newspaper carriers;

          2. Charitable, religious or nonprofit organizations or corporations which have received tax exempt status under 26 USC Section 501(c)(3) or other similar civic, charitable or nonprofit organizations;

          3. Peddlers of fruits, vegetables, berries, eggs or any farm produce edibles raised, gathered, produced or manufactured by such person;

          4. A person who, after having been specifically requested by another to do so, calls upon that other person for the purpose of displaying goods, literature or giving information about any article, thing, product or service;

          5. A street vendor who is participating in a special event organized pursuant to a contract between the city of Edmonds or the Port of Edmonds and another entity, such as the arts festival, summer market, Fourth of July parade and fireworks, Taste of Edmonds, and classic car show. Street vendors participating in such special events are also exempt from the provisions of ECC 4.12.055(O);

          6. Notwithstanding the exemptions provided herein, all exempt persons must provide proof of their exempt status along with photo identification upon request by a prospective customer or law enforcement officer;

          7. Exempt persons are exempt only from city business licensing requirements and must comply with all provisions of law, ordinances and regulations and all applicable Snohomish County health district requirements. [Ord. 3923 § 1, 2013; Ord. 3902 § 1 (Att. A), 2012; Ord. 3096 § 1, 1996; Ord. 2990 § 2, 1994; Ord. 2536 § 1, 1985; Ord. 2435 § 4, 1984; Ord. 1619 § 1, 1972; Ord. 830 § 3, 1960].

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        3. Darrol – also, each year the City Council reviews special event contracts for the City for the 4th of July, Taste of Edmonds and Car Show. The contracts are very detailed and address issues such as permitting, street closure language, street closure plans and updates to traffic control maps. The contracts can be found on the City’s website. For example, there were contracts attached to the May 21, 2019 City Council Agenda Packet.

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  6. Good luck with parking. Hopefully masks will be required, everyone six feet of separation, and capacity controls so that the city doesn’t end up killing Grandmothers with the spread of the virus. Pro tip: Go to the bathroom beforehand, as facilities may not be open.

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  7. This is outstanding news for our downtown core! I hope it continues for the rest of summer everyday! Most weekends in the summer you can’t find parking on Main st due to the summer market and other things going on so how is this different? Park a block or 2 away like you would need to any other weekend. Other cities have done this with success

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  8. I’m a senior & if closing Main Street to traffic will help businesses to get up & running I think it’s a good idea to give the proposed idea a try. I believe an attractive, vibrant downtown adds to property value. Since there’ll be more easy walking in the core of Edmonds w/the absence of traffic on the weekends I think it’s time to open Sunset up to traffic again. All needs/wants for all folks can not always be met. Besides being safe it’s essential to get the economy up and running and strong again.

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  9. Great news! So glad to hear the pedestrian friendly plan is going forward. Hopefully this will be a positive for businesses on and around Main St. Walking downtown is a favorite thing to do and without the noise and smell of cars it will be even better. It is good for us to be outside during this virus and this will encourage people to walk; adding disabled parking in the nearby streets could help for those unable to walk. I’ve found that most everyone in Edmonds is extremely careful re masks and social distancing. Thank you City of Edmonds for trying this concept–hopefully it will lead to Main Street closure not just on the weekends, but every day of the week.

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    1. Obviously you don’t live downtown Edmonds. What about the residents who do live downtown and come home to find they can’t park near their own homes? I have had people who live downtown Edmonds tell me they’ve come home to find their own driveways blocked. When they’ve confronted the perpetrator they’ve been told to F-off. Try dealing with that every day.

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      1. Yes I do live downtown Edmonds. I have not experienced what you described.
        The City has provided alternate parking solutions on the weekends, and also provided transportation from the waterfront area. The City can and probably will explore more options on this subject.

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        1. Very interesting. What types of alternate parking solutions has the city provided? And what type of transportation to the waterfront has the city provided? I would be interested to know.

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      2. How many houses are on Main street between 6th and 3rd? I’ve lived downtown for 7 years and there has not been a single time that I have not been able to park when coming home, let a lone “every day”.

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        1. I think you’re missing the point. If the city closes Main between 6th Ave and 3rd Ave they are taking away approximately 53 parking spaces. Fifty three parking spaces used by customers to businesses and restaurants. Those 53 people will now be parking in front of your residence on all of the neighboring streets. What about the handicapped and all the elderly? Edmonds has a lot of senior citizens.

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        2. The good news of this plan is if parking is a PITA then many regulars who would go to downtown might avoid the hassles of the area and instead go to the majority of Edmonds’ businesses ,restaurants, and cafes that are outside the core area. This is really a genius way to support encourage support for those struggling businesses outside the Edmonds Bowl area.

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    2. Sorry. Not a well-thought out idea, for the reasons several people have already mentioned. Doing it by fiat, essentially, should rankle everyone. It’s a bad habit to get into, even for pilot projects.

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  10. The City worked with business to allow people to park in business parking lots on the weekends. Those lots are designed by signage. In the summer, the City provided the trolly car running from the waterfront to the downtown; that option was available in past years, don’t know about this year. Maybe the City needs more communication regarding these issues.
    I don’t know of other small cities that provide a parking lot for people coming into the area, but I understand that is something the City is considering. Buses running from Park n Ride to Edmonds ? don’t know if that exists, but if not maybe something to pursue.

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  11. About parking! Does anyone remember the Free trolley we had last summer on weekends?
    Easy and fun to use. Maybe we could get it back. We did tip the driver but better then paying for parking.
    The biggest objections most folks had seem to be about access for floks who are handicapped if only slightly. So the trolley would,perhaps, quell some of their fears of being excluded from enjoying this great innovative idea.
    I live in the downtown core and sure would not object to more folks on the street and if the street was open it would allow for creative social distancing.

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  12. Let’s give this idea a chance–that is what the City is doing. Will it work? No one knows, but the hope is it will help businesses in the downtown area by creating a fun and unusual area for people to stroll the street, go shopping, and have a bite to eat. Think about how the “Halloween” event brings so many out to enjoy the pedestian-only event, think Leavenworth who created a theme that people travel miles to enjoy. The City has already said this is a test run. They will evaluate what is working and what is not working and make adjustments accordingly.

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  13. Yes and downtown can be renamed The Rick Steves Memorial Dubie Park. Weekend test is not a true test. No additional parking available during the week. Who will pull the rickshaws for the disabled and elderly who cannot walk to cafe’s and stores? A really bad idea.

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    1. I get the sense Rick is a stickler for correct spelling. That would be The Rick Steves Memorial Doobie Park. (And you’re welcome.)

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  14. This is nuts. Who made this decision!?!! Was there citizen, business, wider-community input received? Rather than helping key businesses in the core of our wonderful town, this decision now makes them inaccessible! At just the point we all felt we were edging back toward ‘normal,’ this out of the blue announcement. I cannot believe this reflects the community’s desires. It is a new kind of quarantine. And, as has been previously said, how about those of us who are disabled and have always counted on being able to park as closely as possible to stores and restaurants? If this is something the mayor’s decided and now simply announced there needs to be a fresh reminder of how community-related decisions are made in a democracy — particularly Edmonds which has been such a remarkable example of community engagement.

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  15. Can’t wait to not participate in this….but I’m outside the hallowed ‘bowl’ so I realize nobody (both residents and mayor) cares. Nelson is SOOOOO desperate to emulate Seattle. Main street will probably be dotted with vagrant tents within months.

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  16. I’m really looking forward to trying this out, and expect that most who attend will be thrilled with the addition of something different and vibrant to our little downtown corridor – at a minimum I would think that people should approach it with an open mind and with optimism, and perhaps hold their fire until after “the experiment” has been tried and any true problems exposed. This is going to draw a lot of people to the downtown corridor, and at at time when our restaurants and other businesses desperately need some activity. I thank the Mayor, our council, and the business-owners who are pulling together to make this happen.

    As an added bonus, from reading some of these comments it appears that many of the grumpy people will be going somewhere else on the weekend, leaving the downtown to be even more fun for the rest of us! A “win-win” I think they call it …

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    1. I’m one of those grumpy people that has lived, volunteered and heavily SUPPORTED downtown Edmonds for 70 years. I’ve been to Europe eleven times in countries from Russia to Great Britain and had a son who went to university in London. I enjoy those experiences but I’m always very happy to be back in the USA. I don’t live on some plaza that was built 300 years ago before the invention of the car. I’m transporting a lot of people around and usually on a schedule. Closing down streets and taking away 53-72 parking places is not helpful to a thriving business community. I want to support businesses who pay the taxes that SUPPORT our cities and state. I’m not in Europe on vacation.

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  17. Parking could be a problem when you add in the museums garden market on Bell st on Saturday till 3oclock. We will lose about 110 parking spaces. Who is paying for signs and set up. Remember the fist weekend is fathers day not a good gauge
    Was told all the one time events have special permit
    Let us see what happens

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  18. Thank you, folks, for all your great opinions. Just a moment to answer a couple questions that have arisen:

    Parking. Yes, most parking on Main Street will be inaccessible to motorists during the closures, but Mike McMurray has offered to open up his parking lot at 6th and Main for the public those days, which will include ADA parking spaces. Thank you, Mike!! And the parking lot at the Bank of America at 3rd and Main is part of the Downtown Alliance’s After-Hours Parking Program, providing a large number of parking spaces free to the public on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.

    Permitted. The closure will be permitted via permit, just as other closures are permitted, as Darrol Haug pointed out, for the farmers markets, Car Show, Tree Lighting, etc. This is not a permanent closure.

    Thanks again for your comments.

    Patrick Doherty
    Edmonds Economic Development & Community Services Director

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    1. Patrick,

      I have applied to have my downtown business listed on visitedmonds.com, a Edmonds City owned and operated website.

      Please explain why my business is excluded, so all the Taxpayers know. Not a problem, just a violation of law.

      I am expecting a reply from you on this site.

      Brent Malgarin

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        1. Hi Tom,

          It is Elegant Gems, next to Edmonds Vitamin, and next door to Chase Bank.
          I refuse to pay into Ed!, the illegal Business Improvement District, so Patrick Doherty of City Hall is biased against my company, as is City Hall, because I am a thorn in their side.

          Patrick’s attempt in December to draft a new Ordinance which would have canceled the City of Edmonds Business license for those who do not pay the Ed! fee, failed, although it would have only effected just one or two business owners. Selective attacks against business owners from City Hall, how special, and illegal.

          A Creative District or Zone? I spoke with the State of Washington, Director of the Creative Zone /Districts, she told me that Patrick’s proposed ban on anyone, including Artists within the Creative District, was really not in line with the State Designation of a “Creative District/Zone”. Then I got an e-mail letter from the State of Washington Arts Director, telling me I should talk with Patrick, so, obviously she did. In her letter she said I was to never discuss talking with the Creative Zone/District manager in Olympia. Obviously she needs to read the US Constitution.

          Did you know, that the former Economic Development Advisor for Edmonds, stated in an e-mail, when Ed! was being formed, that he wanted business owners to be sent out for collections if they did not pay Ed!, because it would destroy their personal credit score. How vial, and this is what City Hall dreams up, rather pathetic. So Pro Business of the Economic Development Department. LOL Ed! Directors stated they were excited that business owners licensees would be canceled, if they do not pay. Maybe Ed! should move to CHAZ, they accomplished nothing in Edmonds, they can become Dictators in CHAZ.

          There has also been an ongoing “whisper campaign” to drive people away from my business, childish, and non-effective.

          Creative District/Zone, I have been dedicated to what I do, immersed, saturated in it since 1978, and I have five (5) International Awards and had two (2) pair of earrings at the Academy Awards “The Oscars, also on display in the Smithsonian National Gemstone Collection I have achieved more International Awards than any other gemologist/jeweler in the greater Northwest. A Creative Zone or District, labels without substance, yet, City Hall wants to penalize business owners, destroy their credit scores if they can not get owners money. Laughable at best.

          Tom, stop in some time, you are always welcome. You don’t have to buy a thing, many people leave our studio saying this is the most incredible studio they have ever seen, most say it is a museum.

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  19. Looking forward to this weekends pedestrian Main Street closure! It will be a fun and festive time for all who come for the market, eating and shopping!
    Support our merchants

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  20. Since a road is a lousy place to put a fountain and a fountain mall is a lousy place to put a road, why don’t we remove the fountain and have a proper road; or remove the road and have a proper fountain mall? Anyway, let’s make whichever move permanent and end this moronic “circular” (pun intended) discussion for good.

    Generally speaking, we will never have enough parking of all types to please everyone and we will never have enough business activity of all types to please everyone. Edmonds is never going to be a quaint little Ferry Village again and you can’t bring back the tall evergreens and little cottages of the past. We are now mc-mansions, view corridors, condos and the Hwy 99 corridor. Best to try to live with it or move somewhere else because those are the only real choices any of us have.

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  21. There is free public parking the city owned lots below city hall and in the lot by the public restrooms.

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  22. Good point Darrol. As usual you bring out positive beneficial information. How hard would it be to temporarily designate a row of that parking as handicapped only, during special events? A few movable signs would do the trick and then have someone monitor the actual use to gauge the benefit during the event. Put up more or less signs as needed and when needed perhaps. Maybe the parking officer could be in charge of this and report back to the Mayor and Council in public comment with pictures and “stats” as to proving or disproving the value of this approach. It’s just possible that creating a pedestrian mall downtown could increase handicapped access, rather than decrease it. A permanent vehicle ban downtown might actually be a good thing.

    In regards to Sunset, maybe the city should designate all of that stretch as handicapped only parking. That might be of more benefit to everyone, including the residents along there. The able bodied, just out for a good walk, shouldn’t be too upset by such a move either.

    In my prior comment I didn’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade or criticize chosen life styles. My point is that somewhere along the line the decision was made that Edmonds is a place to be marketed in almost all respects. We’ve encouraged the housing and business concepts that we have and we have to live with and manage this or move on to somewhere else.

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    1. Clinton, The ideas re handicap parking are excellent, both for special events such as pedestrian-only weekends and Sunset Ave. I support these ideas and hope the City can explore execution of these.

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  23. After the parking survey last fall when 700 plus offered comments the plan was to move forward with added work on parking. Staff and citizens involved with the parking issues advances plans to help sort out the future of parking in the DT area. Council however had other ideas and rejected the plans and did not set any other plans into motion as an alternative. There are several good ideas that can improve parking and access around town that simply have not been allowed to be studied and gather public input.

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  24. I was downtown around 11AM today and had no problems whatsoever finding a parking space at 5th and Beck Lane. It wasn’t raining and I didn’t mind the walk to the market.
    Drivers could come down 5th and loop back around at the fountain. When I left downtown, there was parking on the side streets.

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  25. I think this was a great idea and Edmonds should do this every weekend during the summer. My wife and I (masked BTW), thoroughly enjoyed it and it seemed to be a real pick-me-up for the business and residents who were taking part.

    Count me in the group that thinks this is good for Edmonds.

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